Topics in this Week's News Include:
Here's the News!!
1. NMFA Salutes Our Veterans-and Their Families!As our Nation at war approaches another Veterans Day this weekend, theNational Military Family Association joins a grateful nation inthanking all our veterans, their families, and survivors for theirservice and sacrifice. To help us express our thanks, we share thewords of a school girl from Allenhurst, Georgia. Her essay on why sheappreciates military families appears in the 2004 book A Tribute to Military Families: Letters of Thanks from Our Nation's Children:Iappreciate all the men and women who [are] and already have riskedtheir lives for us. I also thank them for their bravery. If you ask mewe owe everything to them for all they've done to keep us free andsafe. I thank them very much for all they've done for us.
NMFA thanks our veterans and their families. We are proud to serve you!
2. Commissary Scholarship Applications Now Available for Military Children:The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) announced last week that theapplication process for its Scholarships for Military Children programhas now begun for 2007. Applications for the $1,500 scholarships areavailable at 264 commissaries worldwide, or can be downloaded throughlinks at http://www.commissaries.com/, http://www.militaryscholar.org/, or http://www.dodea.edu/.Almost 3,000 scholarships totaling approximately $4 million have beenawarded since the first awards were given in 2001. Most of the fundsare donated by manufacturers, brokers and suppliers selling groceriesin commissaries, and every dollar donated to the program by industry orthe general public goes to fund the scholarships. The program isadministered by the Fisher House Foundation. A significant number ofscholarships, about 10 percent every year, go to high school studentsat DoD schools overseas.
The program is open to unmarried children under the age of 21 (23 ifenrolled in school) of military active-duty, Reserve, Guard and retiredpersonnel. Eligibility will be determined using the Defense EnrollmentEligibility Reporting System database. Applicants should ensure thatthey, as well as their sponsor, are enrolled in the DEERS database andhave a current ID card. The applicant must be planning to attend, oralready attending, an accredited college, or university full-time inthe fall term of 2007, or enrolled in a program of studies designed totransfer directly into a four-year program. Applications for 2007,which includes an essay on "how and why" the applicant would change anhistorical event, must be turned in at a commissary by close ofbusiness on February 21, 2007. At least one $1,500 scholarship will beawarded at every commissary location with qualified applicants. Inaddition to its corporate donor support, the scholarship program hasalso made inroads to increasing support from the "nonmilitary"community. For example, California high school students sponsoring golftournaments in 2006 raised thousands of dollars to donate to theprogram, and already for 2007, a private foundation has made asubstantial donation. Donations can be made through the link at http://www.militaryscholar.org/, the official program website. (Source: http://www.commissaries.com/news/news_2006/DeCA_49-06.cfm)
3. How Well Are DoD Schools Serving Your Children?On November 1, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA)launched its Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS). The survey, which runsthrough February 28, 2007, provides valuable feedback to DoDEA from itsmost important customers-students, parents, and teachers-about thequality of education it provides and areas needing improvement. It isconducted every other year by DoDEA.
Separate surveys will be given to teachers, parents, students ingrades 4-5, students in grades 6-8, and students in grades 9-12. Thesurveys were developed through a review process of various groups,including the DoDDS and DDESS teachers' unions, DoDEA Teachers of theYear, superintendents, principals, students, and Education Directoratestaff members at the DoDEA headquarters. Some questions were adaptedfrom the Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes TowardSchools with additional DoDEA-specific questions. Officials estimate itwill take approximately 20 minutes to complete the survey which will beavailable online at http://www.dodea.edu/.From the DoDEA home page, click on the CSS link. Where internet accessis a concern for parents, an electronic version of the surveys will beavailable for printing.
Information derived from the surveys will be used to improveplanning efforts at all levels throughout DoDEA. Schools, districts,and areas will use the survey results to gain insight into thesatisfaction levels of sponsors and students, which is one of manymeasures used for future planning of programs and services offered toDoDEA's students. The survey results will also be used to monitor theDoDEA Community Strategic Plan (CSP), which contains the strategicdirection for DoDEA for the years 2006-2011.
For more information on the CSS, call (703) 588-3260 or visit the DoDEA website at http://www.dodea.edu/. (Source: http://www.dodea.edu/communications/news/releases/101906.htm)
4. Army Works to Improve Casualty Officer Training:In response to concerns leveled by surviving families regarding theconsistency and quality of Army casualty assistance, as well asrecommendations from the Army's Inspector General, the Army fielded itsfirst standardized, web-based, mandatory training curricula forcasualty assistance and notification officers on November 1.Previously, each installation Casualty Assistance Center (CAC)developed and presented its own certification training classes forcasualty assistance officers (CAOs) and casualty notification officers(CNOs) within its geographic area of responsibility prior to assigningSoldiers to an actual notification or assistance mission. The newonline courses now constitute the basic training curricula for all CACsworldwide. The web-based format provides Soldiers in remote locationswith 24/7 access to the same level and quality of training that wasnormally only available at key installations.
Each installation CAC may supplement these standard trainingcurricula with additional discussions, role-playing exercises, andinformation on resources and procedures applicable to the localgeographic area. The Army's Casualty and Mortuary Affairs OperationsCenter (CMAOC) has formed mobile training teams with casualty andmortuary affairs expertise who will deploy to locations across the Armyin the coming months assisting installation CACs in incorporating theweb-based products into local training protocols. Additionally, theCMAOC will continue developing additional web-based training resourcesand other specialized functions that support the Army's Casualty andMortuary Affairs Programs.
The training information is available on the Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operations Center home page at: https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/Active/TAGD/CMAOC/cmaoc.htm. Anyone with an Army Knowledge Online (AKO) account can access these web-based training products. (Source: http://www4.army.mil/news/article.php?story=9812).
5. Pentagon Channel Sheds Light on PTSD:The Pentagon Channel is taking an in depth look at post traumaticstress disorder (PTSD) in a new edition of its monthly documentaryRecon. The half hour show, called "The Wounds Within," explores how theunderstanding of PTSD has evolved from the Civil War to World Wars Iand II to Vietnam and now to Operations Enduring Freedom and IraqiFreedom. It also demonstrates how the Department of Defense is treatingservice members returning from battle today.
The program notes that in the Civil War PTSD was called "nostalgia."Following World War I, it was called "shell shock" and following WorldWar II it was called "combat fatigue." But even with today'sunderstanding and treatment, "The Wounds Within" shows why many servicemembers refuse to seek help. The program features wounded servicemembers who share very personal stories of how they survived, how theywere able to seek treatment, and how they are coping today. PentagonChannel producers hope "The Wounds Within" will spark discussion aboutPTSD and prompt service members who are suffering in silence to ask forhelp. The program, "Recon: The Wounds Within," was first shown on thePentagon Channel on November 3, 2006, but will be rerun throughout thismonth. Go to http://www.pentagonchannel.mil/ for information and program schedules. (Source: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/NewsArticle.aspx?ID=2008).
6. More Veterans Day Discounts Available:The world's two largest home-improvement retailers are offering 10percent discounts to active-duty personnel, National Guard and Reservemembers, retired military, veterans, and their families in honor ofVeterans Day. Lowe's Companies Inc. the second largest chain, willoffer the discount November 10-12 on in-stock purchases up to $5,000.To qualify, customers must present a valid military identification orother proof of service, such as veteran's ID or discharge papers orVeterans of Foreign Wars card. The company also offered discountsduring the 2006 Memorial Day and July 4th holiday weekends. Excludedfrom the discount are online sales, previous sales, special orderitems, installation fees, gift cards, Fisher & Paykel appliances,Dyson vacuums, John Deere products and Krups small appliances. For moreinformation, go to http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=frameSet&url=lowes.mediaroom.com/ and click on the November 6 media release.
The Home Depot will offer the discount from November 9-12 onpurchases up to $2,000 at Home Depot stores, Home Depot Floor Storelocations, Home Depot Landscape Supply stores, and EXPO Design Centerlocations. Customers must go to the Special Services desk in the storeand show proof of military service, such as an ID card. They willreceive a coupon that can be redeemed at any cashier's checkoutregister, on a single receipt, in-store purchase only. The company alsohas offered discount sale weekends to the military community earlierthis year and in previous years. For more information, go to: http://ir.homedepot.com/releasedetail.cfm?releaseid=217296.
7. Have You Used Military OneSource?Tell Us How You Like It! Have you used Military OneSource lately? Doyou have access to a similar program through your employer? Do theseprograms meet your needs as a military family? Please complete NMFA'snew Military OneSource/EAP survey (www.nmfa.org/onesource) and tell us what you think! The survey will close November 15, so please respond today!